The Lantern

We Still Have Work to Do


“You’re Not Done!”

I remember visiting a church at a time when a mentoring ministry was being introduced to the congregation. The pastor turned the conversation to the “seasoned seniors” of the church family and said, “You’re not done yet!” He went on to say, “You may be retired. You may have physical limitations or be a step or two slower, but you’re not done. You may feel like it’s time to let the next generation take charge of things, but you’re still not near finished.”

The pastor continued, “Believe it or not, there are people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are eager to learn from you. They are praying for a mentor, an influence; someone who has experience and is willing to take a risk and lovingly, patiently, invest in someone younger.”

What Do We Have to Offer?

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a shepherd from the mainland whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. I asked him, “In your view, what does the global church have to offer the Chinese church, in this season of restrictions, suspicion, and limited access?” He said, “This is a crucial time for the church, because the church will have to change if it is going to change China and the world. We need trusted, experienced advisors and mentors. People who will humbly invest their time to teach what they have learned about soul care, member care, spiritual formation, as well as basic organizational things like how to start and responsibly sustain a great commission sending agency; as well as to pray.”

Tenacious Marthena

I first met Marthena Ransom at our church when I was about thirteen years old. Marthena was a missionary who had recently retired after serving thirty-five years in India. I never knew Marthena when I didn’t think of her as very old. She was only four feet, ten inches tall, maybe weighed 100 pounds, and walked very slowly and awkwardly because of severe scoliosis.

Thank God Marthena didn’t think of herself as old or done yet. She still had work to do. After church Marthena would make sure to get in my way, look this distracted Southern California surfer and basketball junkie in the eye and call me to something more. She took me seriously and persistently asked how she could pray for me. She spoke to me about the great needs of the unreached. Marthena prayed for me as a teenager, through college, the youth pastorate, church planting in North America, seminary, and all the way to my first years in Hong Kong.

One day, when I was on summer break from college, Marthena invited me to her home in downtown Los Angeles. We walked out past the backyard to an old, wooden, stand-alone, one-car garage. Marthena opened the garage door and welcomed me into her war room; a mighty big prayer closet, where there were maps, pictures and letters pinned up on all four walls. This is where she spent hours each day while praying across the world. Marthena might have retired, but she never stopped travelling by way of intercessory prayer. She prayed for me, my family, the other kids in our church youth group, my friends from college who were missionary candidates, and so many others across the world.

After I finished college, for about fifteen years until Jesus called her home, Marthena sent me letters of encouragement and told me how she was praying for me, sharing what she had seen, learned, and done in India. When I heard Marthena had died, I truly felt gut-punched. She was more than fifty years older than me, but on certain levels I never had a truer friend. She had a front row seat to what a self-centered mess I was in high school, but somehow, Marthena loved me. She only saw and believed in the person Christ would be in and through me. She had much higher aspirations for me than I had for myself. Hers were all about advancing Christ’s kingdom, and so, Marthena prayed me through. She did the same for hundreds of missional people all over the world.

Prayerful Mentors

In this time when many are chagrined about the lack of access, it’s vital to remember the eternal good we can do. Regardless of proximity, we can seek out prayerful mentors, as well as offer ourselves to be encouraging intercessors for our friends in China and the diaspora. No small thing!

$50,000 Year End Matching Gift!

Dear friends of ChinaSource have just offered a year-end matching promise of $50,000, meaning they will be pleased to match any gift provided to ChinaSource from October 10–December 31, up to $50,000. We’re praising the Lord for this generous matching promise! We would be grateful if you would prayerfully consider helping us meet this match. We’re also praying the Lord will provide another $50,000 in matching grant promises. Thanks for praying with us for our Heavenly Father’s provision in this way, even as he is already opening many exciting ministry doors in 2023!

Kerry Schottelkorb
President

Ways to Pray

News and Notes

Online Lecture

As part of our ongoing joint lecture series with China Academic Consortium (ERRChina) and the US-China Catholic Association (USCCA), China Academic Consortium will be hosting the autumn lecture on Sunday, November 13. Richard Cook will present the lecture, entitled “Out of the Darkness and into the Light of the Global Stage: Protestant Churches in China after 1979.” The lecture is open to the public and will also be streamed online.

Find more details and register to attend on the ERRChina website.

ChinaSource Team News

  • On Sunday, September 25, Brent Fulton preached at Home of Christ Church in Newark, CA.
  • Brent Fulton spoke at the ERRChina Fundraiser Gala, also on September 25.

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